The New York Jets finally revealed that rookie quarterback Geno Smith will start in the season opener this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
Smith, who had a mediocre preseason, was the team’s second-round draft pick out of West Virginia, falling short of an expected early first round selection.
“Geno, before he had the injury to his ankle, really looked tremendous,” head coach Rex Ryan said in a video posted on the Jets website Wednesday morning.
Mark Sanchez, the returning fifth-year quarterback, has been injured since Aug. 24 with a bruised right shoulder from a hit from former teammate Marvin Austin. Ryan admitted that Sanchez has been unable to practice with his teammates and could be sidelined for weeks.
“It’s unfortunate that Mark was injured,” Ryan said Wednesday. “He is working extremely hard to get back, but he’s just not ready right now. It’s similar to last week. We knew he wasn’t ready then, he’s not ready now. We’ll see what the future holds as we move forward, but clearly right now, he’s not ready.”
Despite Smith’s performance – three interceptions and a safety in the end zone – during a preseason game, the coaches and team are fully behind him.
“We are definitely confident that Geno’s out there,” Ryan said. “I think all of our guys are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”